The median price of homes sold during March set a record high $775,000 while listings and pending sales dropped in the face of “Stay at Home” orders resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® reported on Monday, April 20.
The March home price broke the prior record of $755,000 set in October and was up 12.0 percent from the prior year.
REALTORS® assisted the close of escrow during March of 367 single-family home sales, which were down 8.0 percent from the prior year. Condominium sales totaled 153 units, an increase of 20.5 percent from March 2019.
“March closed escrows reflected sales activity that occurred mainly in January and February with closed escrows most likely not severely impacted by the mid-month orderthat shut down all nonessential businesses and implemented social distancing rules,” said Nancy Troxell Carnahan, president of the 10,600-member Southland Regional Association of REALTORS®. “The heaviest impact on residential real estate of the stay at home order will be reflected in statistics reporting April and subsequent months.”
However, the Association said the order had an impact on the number of active listings and pending escrows that were wending their way through the market as the shut-down orders took effect.
At a time of year when listings typically rise for the traditional Spring homebuying season, the Association reported 876 active listings on the Multiple Listing Service. That was down 28.0 percent from a year ago. The 876 listings represented a 1.7-month supply under the market that existed prior to the pandemic, but an unknown number of sellers may have chosen to delay selling in the fact of the pandemic while others moved forward with their listing.
March marked the 10thconsecutive month where the active listing total came in lower than the prior year. Following ten consecutive months of rising listings, the market started to slow down in June, and then fell to a record low of 770 active listings in December.
Since then, there have been slight month-to-month increases, even as comparisons to the prior year showed listings falling dramatically.
The Coronavirus pandemic probably hit pending escrows — a measure of future activity — the hardest. The Association reported 444 open escrows at the end of March. That was down 34.2 percent from the March 2019.
“We’ll see steep drop offs in sales totals in the coming months as the region fights to contain the pandemic,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer. “REALTORS® are adapting to virtual sales activity and implementing safe practices and social distancing as they work with the buyers and sellers who still want to proceed with a real estate transaction.”
While real estate has been added to the list of essential businesses, the City of Los Angeles has banned in-person open houses and in-person showings of occupied homes. However, it does allow showings of unoccupied homes, though under strict safety guidelines.
While the future remains uncertain, Johnson and Carnahan expected residential real estate activity to pick up once the region emerges from the self-isolation imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® is a local trade association with more than 10,300 members serving the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. SRAR is one of the largest local associations in the nation.
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